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Silly stouts from parts north is today's theme, and Boundary has a bunch of them. I have picked two representative examples.

I Heard You've Been Looking For Me is the lighter of the pair, 8% ABV and describing itself as an "imperial cookie stout with blueberry and vanilla". I don't see where the cookie fits into this. There's no cookie in the ingredients and there isn't the thick cakey sweetness I would expect from that. They've gone heavy on the blueberry which gives the head a purplish tone and adds a strong tartness to the taste, though only a small pinch of blueberry flavour. This contrasts hard with the milk-chocolate middle and it doesn't work all that well for me. If a beer is presenting as big and sweet, it ought to be big and sweet. Big and sweet and sour isn't on.

Next, coffee, vanilla, chipotle and coconut are the additions to A Practical Guide To, a 10%-er. This one is thick and smooth and sweet, so the vanilla is doing its job this time. The coffee is mostly to be found in the aroma, while the chilli lands late, bringing a helpful drying-out, though not much spice. I can't say I detected much coconut either. But really, despite the lengthy list of add-ons, it's a beer to take as a whole rather than pull apart. There's a sumptuous richness, with a honeycomb effect not too distant from those top-dollar Scandi pastry stouts, but not as cloyingly sweet. Describing it as balanced might be a step too far, but it's less daft than most of this sort and much more palatable than the previous. I'll take it.

A reminder, then, of why I don't buy a lot of this type of beer. Clearly a great deal of effort goes into them, and I'm sure there are still customers capable of being wowed simply by a long list of adjunct flavourings. To me, it's mostly unnecessary, and I think both of these would have been better beers without them.